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    Default The story of the Goddess Lalita

    Lalitopakhyana – III

    (12-10-99 – 3rd Day)

    Agastya heard the story and said, “Hayagreeva! Kindly let me know in detail which
    form of Para Shakti (The Divine Mother, the Supreme Power) will bestow both food
    and salvation to the devotees in the Kali Yuga”. Hayagreeva replied, “Lalita Devi is
    the only Goddess who has the power to do so. Listen to her story”.

    In the distant past, Sati Devi, a daughter of Daksha was married to Shiva. However
    gradually, Daksha developed hatred towards Shiva. Due to this ill will, Daksha
    intended to perform a Yaga (fire sacrifice) without making any offering to Shiva. He
    didn’t invite even his daughter Sati Devi to the Yaga.

    She came to know of the forth-coming great Yaga to be done by her father. She
    didn’t know other details. However, overjoyed by the news of the ritual her father
    was going to perform, he went to the Yaga, in spite of Shiva’s disapproval of her

    Sati Deha Tyaga (Self-immolation of Sati)

    Ignoring the natural affection to his daughter, Daksha insulted her and repeatedly
    abused Shiva. Unable to bear the insult to Shiva, Sati Devi burnt her body in the fire
    created by her power of yoga. Knowing about this calamity, Shiva became furious.
    Creating the terrific Veerabhadra out of the locks of hair of His head, Shiva sent him
    to attack Daksha. Veerabhadra destroyed the hall of Yaga, swallowed even the
    Chakra (the circular weapon of Vishnu) and beheaded Daksha. The wives of Daksha
    prayed to Veerabhadra who was pacified and revived Daksha back to life by joining
    the head of a goat to the trunk. Daksha repented and prayed to Shiva for pardon.
    Sati Devi was born as the daughter of Himavanta (Himalaya Mountain) and Menaka,
    as the couple did penance for 150 million years with the intention to beget her as
    their child. The newborn was named Parvati (daughter of Parvata-mountain) and
    brought Her up with love and affection.

    One day, the sage Narada visited Himavanta and said, “You are very fortunate. The
    Divine Mother is born as your daughter; Shiva is doing penance in your mountain
    range in his “Sthanu Ashrama” (abode of stones). After the departure of Sati Devi,
    He has become an ascetic. It will benefit you considerably if you send your daughter
    to serve Him”.

    Himavanta’s joy knew no bounds on hearing Narada’s words. He went to the abode
    of Shiva along with his daughter. After taking Nandi’s (the Ox which is the vehicle of
    Shiva) permission, he approached Shiva, worshipped Him and prayed to Him to allow
    Parvati to serve him. Shiva said, “OK. She may do so”. Then onwards, Parvati used
    to render services to Shiva for hours together. However, Shiva used to be in a state
    of ecstasy of yoga continuously.

    Kama Dahana (Burning of Cupid)

    This being so, a demon by name Taraka invaded and occupied the Heaven along with
    his army and started to hurt and pester the celestials. All of them approached
    Brahma for relief, who said, “The son born to Shiva and Parvati only can kill the
    demon. Hence you make such efforts that the marriage will be performed”.
    Indra, the Lord of the celestials called for Manmatha (Cupid-the god of love). He
    praised Cupid and asked him to see that Shiva’s ascetic attitude was lessened and
    that He would start to love Parvati. Manmatha was exuberated by praises and
    agreed to do as directed.

    Ratidevi, the spouse of Manmatha came to know of this new assignment and tried
    her best to dissuade cupid from embarking on the hazardous venture. In spite of it,
    Cupid proceeded to Shiva’s abode “Sthanu Ashrama”.

    There he suddenly created the alluring atmosphere of the spring season. The
    Pramathaganas (the armies of Shiva) were very much disturbed in their minds with
    the erotic feelings. Observing this, Nandi (Ox-the vehicle of Shiva) disciplined them.
    In the meantime, Cupid entered the abode of Shiva stealthily and saw Shiva seated
    in the state of ecstasy of meditation. The very sight of Shiva in the posture suddenly
    unnerved Cupid. At the same moment, Parvati came there. Looking at Her, Cupid
    recovered his courage.

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    While Parvati was getting up after bending low to prostrate to Shiva, Her upper
    garment slipped a bit. Exactly at that moment, Manmatha aimed an arrow (of lust)
    on Shiva, whose mind was affected a bit. Observing this, Parvati feet a gush of joy

    However Shiva analysed His feeling immediately and looked around to know why it
    happened so. Shiva saw Cupid hiding behind the bushes. At once, Shiva’s third eye
    (in between the eyebrows) opened and the fire rushing therefrom reduced Cupid to
    ashes. Parvati closed her eyes out of fear. By the time She opened Her eyes in a
    moment, Shiva disappeared with all His attendants. Himavanta came there, consoled
    Her and took Her home. Ratidevi wept bitterly due to the death of her husband
    Manmatha. Vasanta, the god of spring approached Ratidevi, consoled her and
    reminded her of the curse of Brahma to Manmatha.

    Curse of Brahma to Manmatha:

    Once upon a time, there were two demons by name Sunda and Upasunda,
    who were brothers. They did penance meditating on Brahma and obtained a strange
    boon that their death could not be caused by anyone else except by themselves
    only. They were very much fond of one another. Hence they expected that no mutual
    harm would be possible.

    Thereafter they created havoc by their terrific acts in the three worlds. All the
    celestials prayed to Brahma who thought of a strategy to destroy the demons. He
    accumulated the essence of beauty of all the fine things in the world and created a
    woman of exquisite beauty. As she was created with a gingelly aspect of beauty in
    everything, she was called Tilottama (Tila-gingelly; Uttama-Best)

    Her beauty enchanted even the celestials. Brahma checked up keenly whether her
    beauty was superb in all aspects. Manmatha, who happened to be there at that time,
    wanted to play a practical joke. Hence he aimed an arrow (of lust) at Brahma. Due
    to this, Brahma forgetting that she was His daughter chased her lustily. As a last
    resort, Tilottama started running taking the form of a deer. Brahma also followed her
    in the form of a deer. The celestials were highly agitated by this untoward event.
    Observing this impending danger, Shiva manifested as a hunter and holding a bow
    and arrows came near Brahma who was in the form of a deer.

    Looking at the fierce form of Shiva, Brahma came to senses. He prostrated to His
    feet and prayed for pardon. By then, the celestials and Tilottama arrived there.
    Everyone was pacified. After taking Shiva’s permission, the celestials sent Tilottama
    to meet Sunda and Upasunda looking at Tilottama going about in a garden, both
    Sunda and Upasunda competed to enjoy with her and at last the demons killed and

    Tilottama returned to Brahma, who felt happy and sent her to the Heaven with a
    permanent status as one of the Apsaras(celestial dancers).

    After the entire affair was over, Brahma recollected what all had happened and sent
    for Manmatha and said “You fellow! Blinded by the power bestowed to you, how dare
    you aim your arrows (of lust) at one and all, disregarding their age? Do you intend
    to destroy the code of righteousness? I am saved of grievous sin due to the timely
    arrival and protection of Shiva. Hence, one day you will be burnt to ashes by the fire
    of Shiva’s third eye. Beware!”

    Hearing the curse, Rati and Manmatha were frightened and prayed to Brahma for
    relief of the curse.

    Brahma regained His composure and said, “The Divine Mother will manifest as
    Lalitadevi. She will marry Shiva. After the marriage, She will revive Manmatha to

    After narrating the story, Vasanta (the god of spring season) consoled Ratidevi,
    saying, “Sister-in-law! It is a must for everyone, however great he is, to undergo the
    suffering of a curse. However as predicted by Brahma, my brother Manmatha will be
    revived to life soon. Until then, be bold and continue to pray to Lalitadevi.
    Ratidevi left the place and followed the advice.

    Source:Avadhoota Datta Peetham – Mysore
    Last edited by soundararajan50; 18-12-2014 at 05:31 PM.

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